Douglas Barr –Concertina
Douglass Barr has been an instrumental music teacher on Staten Island for the past 37 years. He was the conductor of the Salute to Music Program for 33 years and has conducted several times in Carnegie Hall. In 2010 Mr. Barr was honored by the Music Educators’ Association of New York City (MEANCY) for his longtime contributions to music education in NYC. He has played the concertina extensively in the NY/NJ area for the past 15 years. He was the regular host of a session in the pub Slainte in Manhattan and has hosted sessions at the Landmark Inn in Manhattan, Saint James Gate, the Kilkenny House, and the Irish American Association of Northwest Jersey (IAANJ). He hosted a session with flutist Linda Hickman on Staten Island at the Wild Goose Pub, and they are currently hosting another session on Staten Island at the Flagship Brewery. He has recorded with the guitarist/harpist Iris Nevins and can be heard on her CD “Celtic Guitar Dreams” and “String Theory”. He also hosted and recorded a live session CD at the Irish American Association of Northwest Jersey (IAANJ).
In 2010 Mr. Barr received a grant from The Council on the Arts & Humanities of Staten Island (COAHSI) to bring an Irish music session to Staten Island. Mr. Barr was the curator and one of the performers in a very successful concert “An Evening of Irish Traditional Music, Song and Dance with Special guest Monsignor Charles Coen” on Staten Island in October 2010. Mr. Barr was also involved with The National Endowment for the Arts to create a traveling exhibit of folklife on Staten Island. In 2012 Mr. Barr was awarded a New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) Grant to study concertina with Monsignor Charles Coen. Mr. Barr has been particularly influenced by the style and repertoire of Monsignor Coen. Other influences include Mary MacNamara, Claire Keville, Edel Fox and Caitlín Nic Gabhann.
James Cleveland – Fiddle
James Cleveland is a fiddler and teacher. He's been teaching fiddle for the Irish Arts Center in NYC since 1999 and has introduced over a hundred new players to the instrument. He started playing the fiddle as an adult (at 30) which gives him insight to the needs of the adult beginner. He was also a student at the IAC, where he learned much of his repertoire.
He plays regularly in NYC sessions, especially the Dempsey's session at Sláinte, and the Mary O's Irish session in the East Village. He is a member of the Irish Arts Center band and has played the fiddle in several stage plays. He also plays for dances with Ken Borgesen and accordion player Jack Durkin on Long Island. In December 2014 he released Glad Tidings, an album of holiday and traditional tunes with concertina player Jim Norman. You can visit him at: jcfiddle.com
Tom Downes – Bagpipes
Tom Downes has been involved with the Irish Arts Center since 1972. He was a performer in some of our earliest theatrical productions and has been teaching bagpipes here for about 15 years. Tom grew up in Brooklyn in the 1950s with parents from musical families in West Limerick. Learning music at the piano from age seven, his love of traditional Irish music led him to focus on the bagpipes under the tutelage of the County Tyrone Association band, eventually directing the band as Pipe Major. Tom has enjoyed a 35-year career as a bilingual guidance counselor in the NYC public schools and for years was an adjunct evening instructor in music at St.John's University. He has taught piping to other bands and organizations, also playing uillean pipes, tin whistle and low whistle. Several of his students have gone on to lead bands and to use Tom's original music and arrangements. Tom has made a lifelong effort to collect, research, and adapt traditional Irish music for the bagpipe. He still performs regularly and has been a part of recordings, TV shows and live concerts. Favorite projects include playing solo pipes for Seamus Heaney's reading of his own poems in a dramatic presentation directed by Derek Wolcott at the 92nd Street Y.
Siobhan Egan – Bodhrán
Born in Philadelphia, Pa, Siobhan moved to the west of Ireland at a young age. While living in Foxford, Co. Mayo, she began traditional music lessons at age eight with Martin Donoghue. Learning by ear, she started on the tin-whistle and then went on to the flute, piano accordion, bodhrán and fiddle. When her family returned to the Philly area in 1980, Siobhan started performing at festivals and concerts up and down the east coast with her brother, Seamus, and sister, Rory. A founding member of Cherish the Ladies, she toured worldwide with the band for almost thirteen years. While with CTL, she recorded seven cd’s, many of which feature several of her own compositions. Since leaving the band, Siobhan has enjoyed teaching the bodhrán at the Irish Arts Center for the past few years.
Carrie Erving –Voice
Carrie Ervingis a performing singer, composer and a Lincoln Center teaching artist. Originally from Massachusetts, she developed her love of traditional American folk songs while studying voice at Ithaca College, and traveled to Ireland to earn a Master’s degree in Irish Traditional Song from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. Her eclectic background in opera, rock, and folk music influences both her work with students and her current compositions. She also loves writing and producing music for various projects and enjoys playing guitar and synthesizers. Her love of travel and music has led her to live in Ireland, Germany, New Mexico and New York. She currently lives in Brooklyn and performs with her band Ponyhof, and has worked with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Will Butler (Arcade Fire).
Thomas “T.J.” Keevins –Bodhran
T.J. has played the bodhran for over five years now, and is a regular participant in the New York City session scene. Having grown up playing multiple forms of percussion from classical to jazz since the third grade, T.J. fell in love with Irish music during law school, and dabbled in the tin whistle before finally returning to his musical roots as a drummer. T.J. began learning the bodhran with the Irish Arts Center’s own Siobhan Egan. He’s further studied, taken master classes with or otherwise been influenced by Jackie Moran, Myron Bretholtz, Junior Davey, and Eamon Murray. He is at work adding mandolin to his repertoire, both for its own sake, and for developing a deeper familiarity with Irish tunes to continue the development his bodhran playing. T.J. is excited to be joining the IAC faculty, and looks forward to growing the bodhran playing community in New York.
Peadar Ó hÍcí – Guitar
Dublin’s Peadar Ó hÍcí has been delivering the songs of Ireland’s history to audiences at home and abroad for over a decade. A regular fixture on the Dublin city folk and traditional music circuit, Peadar learned his trade on stage at The Arlington Hotel’s, Oliver St John Gogarty’s and The Temple Bar in Dublin’s Cultural Quarter.On a visit to The Catskills Irish Arts Week in 2010, Peadar decided to take his music to New York City. Since arriving in the United States, Peadar has been busy performing with many of the finest Irish musicians New York City including Ivan Gough, Matt Mancuso and Tipperary banjo player, Pio Ryan. Peadar’s songs and traditional guitar accompaniment have already landed him on stages in all of New York’s five boroughs and as far away as St Louis, Mizzouri. On St Patrick’s Day 2013, Peadar was invited to join All-Ireland winning accordion player Martin O’Connell in a performance at the New York Mayor’s residence – Gracie Mansion. Derek Warfield (founder of The Wolfe Tones) recruited Peadar into his band The Young Wolfe Tones in 2013. Peadar has played guitar, sang and written for the band ever since.
Mia Theodoaratus – Celtic Harp
Mia Theodoaratus is a composer, improviser and harpist who plays Celtic, Rock and Jazz harp. She has enjoyed working with Roscoe Mitchell, Susan Allen, Charlie Hayden, Daniel Carter, Dee Pop, Baikida Caroll, Antony and the Johnsons and Leona Naess. Her goal is to take classical sensibility and infuse it with the dynamics of free jazz and the rhythm of rock. Performance highlights include Chaos & Candy, National Shakespeare Company production of Oedipus with Avery Brooks, Jason Schmidt opening with Gelatin performance group at Deitch Projects, and Butch Morris's New York Skyscraper.
This year Mia is playing in Dueling Harps with Ann Magnuson, Alex Rami and Adam Dugas at the Red Cat Theatre in Los Angles. Her touring duo with Adam Dugas is Ravens and Roses which fuses together Irish tunes, rock songs and Purcell.
Caitlin Warbelow – Fiddle
Hailing from a family of bush pilots in Fairbanks, Alaska, Caitlin Warbelow is a fiddler/violinist currently residing in Brooklyn. Currently, Caitlin is the violinist/fiddler for Riverdance's new production, "Heartbeat of Home", as well as a substitute violinist for Sting's new musical on Broadway, "The Last Ship". She has toured and performed with Cherish the Ladies, Mick Moloney and the Green Fields of America, The Brock McGuire Band, Michael Londra and Celtic Fire, The Mickey Finns, and The Prodigals, among many others. Known as something of a musical chameleon, Caitlin performs, records, and teaches extensively in NYC and around the country in a variety of genres including Irish traditional and rock, country and bluegrass, Texas swing and contest fiddling, and on occasion returns to her roots as a classical violinist. Caitlin holds honors from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, the National Suzuki Conference, the New England Fiddle Championship, and the Fleadh Cheoil (All-Ireland Competition). Her 2012 CD "Manhattan Island Sessions" was nominated for an Independent Music Award. Caitlin received a masters degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University and double bachelors degrees from Boston University in Violin Performance and Anthropology. www.caitlinwarbelow.com.
Dan Hunt – Set Dance
Dan Hunt has been a member of the Irish Arts Center since 1986. A former naval officer and merchant seaman, Dan came to the Irish Arts because he was looking for a club and a community where he could pursue his love of Irish music and culture. Smitten with Irish folk dancing, he attended dance classes taught by well known New York-area teachers such as Josephine McNamara, Kevin Westley and Paul Keating. Later he attended set dance workshops given in the US and Ireland by such legendary dance masters as Joe O’Donavan, Connie Ryan, Pat Murphy, Timmy McCarthy, Larry Lynch, and Padraic McEneneny. He started teaching Ceili Dances at the Irish Arts Center in 1988 and taught his first Country Set Dance class in the following year. He has been involved with Irish dance and music (especially at the Irish Arts Center) ever since.
Dan’s approach to teaching Irish folk dance is more than mere choreography. In his class he insists that only when you’ve begun to move to the phrasing of the music and above all, learn the footwork and movements unique to each dance will you experience the true pleasure of the sets.
Laura Neese is a contemporary dance artist from Staten Island, NY, where she developed a love for dance under the mentorship of Rosemary Cappozalo and studied Irish dance with Niall O’Leary. She holds a BFA in Dance and BA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo, with additional study at the University of Chichester, UK, and is certified in the Simonson Method. Laura currently collaborates with the KitchenSink Collective and Staten Island Dance Jam. She presents her own solo and interdisciplinary work and teaches dance and tutors academics throughout the Greater NYC area.
Betty Sheehan (TCRG)
Betty Sheehan (TCRG) has been dancing since she learned to walk. Early on, she showed an affinity for percussive dance, much to the chagrin of her mother, who long lamented her much-scuffed kitchen floor. Betty studied Irish Dancing with Marie Moore, TCRG/ADCRG, in New York, and competed at the local, regional, and national levels during her competitive career. Betty is a registered teacher with An Coimisiun in Ireland since 2005, and she is director of the Aherne Sheehan School of Irish Dance which holds classes on the Upper East Side as well as in Sussex County, NJ.
After graduating from Fiontar in Dublin City University with a first class honors degree in Iriseoireacht agus Gaeilge (Journalism and Irish), Frances returned to the Irish-medium school to complete research and editorial work on their digital humanities projects.
Working on the popular websites téarma.ie, logainm.ie, and dúchas.ie as part of the Clár Aimhirgín graduate program, she completed work placements with An Brainse Logainmneacha (the Place Names Branch), An Coiste Téarmaíochta (the national Irish language terminology committee) and Cnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (the National Folklore Collection).
She was awarded an M.Phil. in Digital Humanities and Culture in 2015, completing a thesis from the program on the development of digital resources for Irish language learners in North America.
Frances is a two-time winner of an Irish Student Media Award for Irish language print journalism.
Siobhan Ni Chiobhain
Siobhan is a native Irish Speaker from Muiríoch, West of Dingle in Co. Kerry’s Gaeltacht. She was educated from the ages of 4 – 18 entirely through the Irish Language, Scoil Mhaolchéadar and Meanscoil na Toirbhirte. She has been working in Irish Language media production since 2001.
Yvonne Cassidy was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and she moved to New York in 2011. Yvonne is the author of three novels: “The Other Boy”, “What Might Have Been Me” and most recently “How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?”
In addition to writing fiction, Yvonne has written journalism and for television. Working with new writers to help them find and develop their writing voice is something Yvonne is passionate about and while based in Ireland, she developed a Creative Writing program for the training division of The Irish Times.
Yvonne is a member of New York Writers’ Workshop and has taught at the New York Public Library as well as the Andrew Glover Youth Program and Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen where she has helped young offenders, homeless and other marginalized writers to find an outlet for their experience through creative writing.
Yvonne has taken part in many writing festivals and events in Ireland and the US. For latest information on readings and book events visit:http://www.yvonnecassidy.com or follow her on Twitter @YvonneCassidyNY
She is currently working on her fourth novel.
Honor Molloy’s dramatic work has been produced by New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, the Public Theatre, the Irish Theatre of Chicago, Sydney's Mardi Gras Arts Festival, Selkie Theatre, and the Inishbofin Arts Festival. An alumna of New Dramatists, she has garnered support from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. The author of Smarty Girl (Simon & Schuster Audio / GemmaMedia 2012), she is currently working on Little Room, a play about Dublin Bohemians in the early 1950s.
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